Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barefoot Tips: Traveling with Kids

Hello Barefoot friends!
This time of year always brings up memories of sleeping in the back of the station wagon (before seatbelt laws), cool crisp mornings at Grandma's house and the special thrill of spending time with family. My parents may have a different memory: trying to fit everything into the car, breaking up back-seat fights and endless potty-breaks. As a Barefoot Mom, I try to keep both perspectives in mind as we plan for our holidays. Here are some helpful tips to guard the joy in your holidays:

1) Set realistic expectations- Be ready to change your plan as needed. Being a caregiver requires a certain amount of flexibility. If traveling by car, give yourself a day of leeway. If traveling by plane, bring snacks, books and be early. Everywhere. Try not to overschedule your days and allow your children to assist in the planning process.

2) Be prepared- Carry a first aid kit, blankets and warm clothing. Stash some granola bars and water in your car. Have a map or GPS handy. Check your car's fluids and tire pressure at regular stops, especially if it's an unfamiliar vehicle.

3) Get a child's perspective- What will be the hardest part of the trip for your little ones? Is it the change in structure, the long periods of sitting, or just being in close proximity to an annoying sibling? Help them enjoy the trip as much as you do by heading off conflicts before they happen!

Here are some great Barefoot options for keeping kids happy on the road:

We All Go Traveling By Paperback Book & Music CD $9.99
Written by: Sheena Roberts
Illustrated by: Siobhan Bell

Siobhan Bell's colorful hand-stitched illustrations and the accompanying Music CD by popular singer Fred Penner are sure to get children singing along happily. This book brings together the things your young child sees out the window with a fun song that will make time fly on the road. We have many book and music cds that will entertain your kids for hours and will have you singing along before you hit the state line!

My Travel Journal: A World of Activities $9.99
Includes to-do lists, book lists, maps, games, word searches and more! Any young traveller (recommended age 7 and up) would love to carry this journal along on their travels. We also have lots of great puzzles, puppets!

Barefoot Books also carries re-usable vinyl sticker play-scenes that will keep younger hands busy for hours, like our Map of the World and On the Farm play scenes. Only $8.99. Puppets and puzzles are a hit, too!

Tired of the same old coloring books? Ready to foster creativity and literacy skills in your children? Take a look at our new activity books! Dotty Spotty Doodles and Zig Zag Zebra each contain 24 pages of activities for kids: mazes, coloring pages, seek-and-finds, free-drawing and more! Only $6.99.

Of course there are zillions more books, puzzles, puppets and even FREE printable activity sheets on my website! Now is a great time to stock up for your holiday travels. Enjoy a 10% discount when you click the banner at the top of this blog. I hope you are celebrating the autumn season, wherever you live. Jump in some leaves with your kids, and remember to...

Live Barefoot!

Friday, October 10, 2008

When a Story is More than Just a Story

I realized recently that Storytelling can be much more than a way to pass time or something to do when there are no books around -- however improbable that may be since I'm the Barefoot Books lady. I have many memories of lying in my own bed as a child listening to stories, my eyes fighting to stay open against the pull of my imagination.
A few weeks ago June was accidentally exposed to a scary part of Finding Nemo. The scene where Nemo's dad and Dory run into the sharks having a support group meeting is a little disturbing at first glance: all you see is rows and rows of shark teeth and there are definitely scary undertones. We explained carefully that the shark was not going to eat anyone and he was, in fact, a good shark who chose to be gentle with his teeth. Which is true. We skipped the next part where he got a taste of Dory's blood and went berserk.
For the next few weeks June kept asking for stories about sharks and Nemo and fish in general. After endless renditions of gentle sharks seeking approval from family members who just don't understand and some tales of improbable friendships, June finally let it go. She still likes to hear "Nemo Stories" but has moved back to her safe and always available "Princess June" stories.
Storytelling is such a great exercise for my brain as well as June's. Trying to remember the rules of a good story often get me into trouble. Spontaneous storytelling is just more fun! June has an incurable habit of "steering" the story by inserting a who, what or where in the middle of my story. If you've ever tried to tell a story about a fish, a princess, some cookies and a pumpkin patch, you know what I'm talking about. So, here's to late autumn nights in dark bedrooms when sleepy eyes fight against dreamtime and here's to moms and dads who tell stories to their kids. Keep up the good work! Somewhere in that unfathomable childhood imagination, there is some serious work going on. Character building, acceptance of differences, and a greater understanding of the world may be just one story away. Now that's Living Barefoot!